September 12, 2018

Badin’s Gantenberg named National Merit semifinalist

Cullen Gantenberg calls himself a passionate student … and it shows.

Gantenberg, a senior at Badin High School, has been named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, one of less than one percent of American high school seniors to earn that prestigious designation.

“I’m very passionate toward what I’m learning about,” said Gantenberg, the son of Nicholas and Julie Gantenberg of Liberty Township and a graduate of Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School. “It takes a lot of work outside of school to be a successful student. It goes beyond the scope of just rote learning.”

Gantenberg was one of among 1.6 million juniors who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in the fall of 2017 in order to be eligible for the 2019 National Merit Scholarship program.

“I’m excited – excited to move on with the process,” Gantenberg said, adding that earning a National Merit nod was definitely a goal when he took the PSAT in the fall of his junior year.

There are approximately 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists throughout the country. Some 90 percent of those will be named finalists in the spring, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will award 7,500 scholarships worth more than $31 million.

“Cullen is a very intelligent, serious and well-spoken young man and we’re extremely proud of his National Merit success,” Badin principal Brian Pendergest said. “He’s done well at Badin and this is just the start of many good things for him moving forward.”

Gantenberg is a member of the Badin swim team, the JETS (Junior Engineering Technical Society) contingent and the Scholar/Leader Academy, among other activities.

He plans to major in physics in college with an eye to research and teaching at the university level. Among his top choices for colleges to attend include Harvard, the University of Chicago, Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati.

“I’ve enjoyed it a lot,” Gantenberg said of his Badin experience. “It’s been very special to me.”

Gantenberg is the sixth National Merit semifinalist in the last four years at Badin High School. The school has had eight National Merit “Commended” students in that time, and hopes to add to that total this year. That announcement will come next month.

The National Merit Scholarship program was established in 1955 with the goal of “honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.”

Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, (513) 863-3993, ext. 120;

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